An open international ideas competition had been launched to regenerate Warsaw’s decaying Warszawianka Sports Centre (Deadline: 17 September)
Open to professionals and students, the contest seeks ‘innovative’ proposals to restore the landmark Modernist complex which has fallen into significant decay in recent decades.
The programme aims to transform attitudes towards the Communist-era structure located in a green-belt zone, which is on the frontline of debates over Warsaw’s future development.
Source: Photographed by Blazej Pindor in 2004
According to the brief: ‘This competition aims to regenerate the existing structure and constitute a thoughtful improvement to the intervention site.
‘In relation with the conceptual values of the original project, the new sports complex should be a combination of sport, art or architecture and the landscape, a project that will be fruitful for the development of the district and give rise to an appealing hub in the context of the city.’
Designed in 1954 by the Art and Research Unit of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, the iconic complex is recognised as an important milestone in Poland’s post-war architectural history.
Its design team included the painter Wojciech Fangor, sculptor Franciszek Strynkiewicz, engineer Lech Tomaszewski and the architects Zbigniew Ihnatowicz and Jerzy Sołtan who was an assistant to Le Corbusier.
Arranged around a series of terraced and a landscaped artificial hill, the phased development featured a 7,000-capacity athletics stadium, a 4,000-seat tennis arena, an outdoor swimming pool and offices.
It was constructed within a large green corridor known as the Warsaw Scarp which has been targeted for piecemeal redevelopment in recent decades.
Nearby landmarks within the Warsaw Scarp area include the picturesque Arkadia Park and the historic Fort Cze ruins and moat.
Proposals should retain the stadium, hill and scorekeepers building, and consider commercial uses such as tennis courts, football pitches and a climbing wall. An exhibition space, café, locker rooms, public toilets, outdoor gym, skate park and parkour course may also be included.
Schemes which enhance the location’s spatial qualities, improve the complex’s visability, maintain sporting and leisure facilities, and address the debate between ‘neoliberal’ private initiatives and ‘communal’ public infrastructure are encouraged.
The competition is open to all students and professionals in areas related to architecture who may participate individually or in groups of up to four members with multidisciplinary teams encouraged.
Judges include Patrick Verhoeven, principal at Mandaworks Architects; Tomasz Fudala, architecture curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and Maria Schirmer, head of architecture and construction for the city’s Mokotów district.
Submissions should include one A1 presentation board and a 10-page A4 booklet explaining the concept.
The winning team – set to be announced on 8 October – will receive a €3,500 prize. A second-place prize of €1,000 and third-place prize of €500 will also be awarded alongside five honourable mentions.
How to apply
The applications deadline is 23:59 PM GMT on 17 September
First stage registration from 17 June to 16 July: €40
Second stage registration from 17 July to 4 September: €60
Third stage registration from 5 September to 17 September: €90
Visit the competition website for more information
Herne Hill Velodrome case study: Q&A with Michael Taylor
The senior partner at Hopkins Architects discusses lessons learned restoring an historic velodrome in south London
Source: Image by Astrid Eckert
How did the Herne Hill Velodrome respond to its context and users’ requirements?
The velodrome has been completed in a series of stages culminating in a new pavilion which replaces an older building that was in a state too decrepit to restore. The budget for the project is not large and the new building, which is now under construction, needed to be cheap to run, inclusive for staff, cyclists and spectators, and community-focused. It also had to be inexpensive to construct and we looked for ways to reduce costs while maintaining a high-quality and well-designed building: as a cost-saving measure, for instance, we minimised internal circulation and as a reference to the famous history of the site going back to 1891 were able to reuse historic cast-iron columns, incorporating them into the new design and enriching the atmosphere inside the project.
What considerations are important when restoring an historic sports venue within a unique landscaped setting?
Herne Hill Velodrome is located on protected Metropolitan Open Land, so preserving the ecology and greenery that is present was of the utmost importance to us while designing the project. The most significant contribution was not to make wholescale changes but to implement a series of subtle improvements which kept the existing character while improving the facilities and ensuring its long-term economic viability through community interest and involvement.
Source: Image by JH Mcaleely
How would you set about restoring Warszawianka sports centre in a way which respects its unique cultural context?
The current 1950s Warszawianka facility is an outstanding though dated and neglected piece of architecture that is in need of thoughtful refurbishment to bring it back to its rightful place as a beloved, highly-crafted marriage of sport, architecture and landscape. In restoring the sports centre, we would focus on gaining a holistic understanding of the cultural and historic values which are particular to it and the city of Warsaw and promoting those in an integrated manner throughout the revamped facility rather than applying a generic, universal solution.